Most new theatres these days are replacing the ‘two-room’ division of spaces produced by the old-style proscenium arch with more prominent stages that bring actor and audience closer together, in ‘one room’. The main house of England’s Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon has used this type of ‘bold thrust stage, inspired by the Renaissance courtyard’ since 2010. The aim is ‘to articulate what’s distinctive about theatre through the intimacy of the relationship between actor and the audience, and the audience with one another’. In England this kind of dramatic intimacy can best be experienced at the rebuilt Shakespeare’s Globe on Bankside in London. Contained in the Renaissance outdoor-style amphitheatre playhouse, the audience inhabits the open yard and galleries ranged closely around the stage on three sides, their close proximity to the actors in ‘same-light’ performance conditions encouraging a frequently stimulating interactivity of experience between performer and spectator.
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